By Lynn Andriani
Meet the slab pie. Its name may be a little clunky, but it's a godsend for anyone who loves pie but knows baking one for a big party just isn't practical. The slab addresses many classic round-pie hang-ups: too oozy, too hard to cut into neat wedges or too small for a large gathering. Camille Beckstrand gets the appeal; she's the oldest of six and is used to making desserts way bigger than a traditional pie (which serves eight, if you're lucky). Beckstrand and her siblings, known all together as The Six Sisters, have a new dessert cookbook out this fall, Sweets & Treats With Six Sisters' Stuff: 100+ Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family. It includes a slab-pie recipe that serves 24.
The shape is the main thing that's different; you press the bottom layer of dough into and up the sides of a square or rectangular pan (it can be a rimmed sheet pan or one with higher edges, such as a square cake pan). Spread the fruit onto the dough, then lay another piece of dough on top and bake. The finished dessert will be slightly shallower than a round pie, but no less tasty. (It may even resemble a giant Pop-Tart, if you drizzle the pie with a glaze.) One more piece of advice: If you're baking the pie in a pan with edges that are higher than one inch, line the bottom and sides with foil or parchment paper before you start; that way, you can easily lift the pie out when it's cool and when you go to cut it, your knife won't have to contend with the pan's high edges, so you'll be able to cut it cleanly.
Beckstrand says any fruit works in a slab pie, from cherry to strawberry to peach. Swap in whatever you like, adjusting the sugar, as necessary (first take a taste of the raw fruit; if it’s more tart or sour, use closer to a cup of sugar; if it seems supersweet, use less).
Rest assured, despite the aesthetic differences, a slab pie will still please any pie lover: there's a top crust and a bottom crust, which each get nice and golden; the fruit cooks to a perfect slumpy consistency; and, there's a high likelihood of there being plenty for second helpings.
Get the recipe: Slab Apple Pie